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Checklist of Things to Do After Getting A Green Card

Apply for a Social Security Number

If you were previously on a work visa or issued Employment Authorization, you may have already been assigned a Social Security Number (SSN). If not, go to http://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/ and order a Social Security Card. This nine-digit number will serve many purposes, including the ability to work, open a bank account, apply for credit or loans, obtain insurance, or pay taxes.

Open a Bank Account

Many U.S. banks do not allow individuals without a green card or SSN to open a bank account. If you have not be able to open an account before, you should do so right away.

Apply for a Credit Card

America is built on credit. Without a green card or a SSN, it is difficult to apply for a U.S. credit card because creditors want to see that you have a solid credit history. U.S. creditors determine your creditworthiness based on your FICO score, which in turn is based on the credit scores from the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Build a good credit history is the key to improving your credit score – which will benefit you in many ways down the road. This includes the ability to qualify for a mortgage, line of credit, renting an apartment, and even a cell phone plan.

Apply for a State Driver’s License

Depending on your state’s laws, you may have to register your vehicle and apply for a driver’s license within a certain period of time of establishing residency. Contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about applying for a driver’s license. A list of links to all 50 states’ DMV websites can be found at: http://www.dmv-department-of-motor-vehicles.com.

Get Health Insurance

Under the Affordable Care Act, also dubbed “ObamaCare,” you will be required to have health insurance, subject to a possible monetary penalty. If you are working for a U.S. employer that provides health coverage, or if you are a spouse of someone who has coverage, then you may not need coverage. If you do not have coverage, you should start doing research into purchasing a health plan at https://www.healthcare.gov.

Pay Your Taxes!

Now that you are a permanent resident, you are required to report all worldwide income to the IRS. You may also have to file income taxes with your state of residency.